Full10Yards – 54 facts for Super Bowl LIV

by Lawrence Vos (@F10YRetro and @NFLFANINENGLAND)

Some known, some unknown and some complete random facts for you to consume during Super Bowl weekend.

The 49ers and Chiefs have met only 13 times. The 49ers lead the series 7-6, but they have only won one of the last four meetings. 

The teams last met in Week 3 of the 2018 season, the Chiefs winning 38-27. Mahomes and Garoppolo combined for 5 TD passes, 0 ints and 565 passing yards. 

In 2006 the Chiefs beat the 49ers 41-0, the only time either team was shutout in a H2H matchup. The 49ers leading rusher that day was Frank Gore, who is still active with the Buffalo Bills. 

Picture credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

#54 for the San Francisco 49ers is LB Fred Warner who had 89 regular season tackles, 3 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and a pick. 

#54 for the Kansas City Chiefs is LB Damien Wilson who had 7 tackles in the AFC Championship win over the Tennessee Titans.

The 54th ranked all-time passing yard record holder is Brad Johnson with 29,054 yards. Johnson won Super Bowl XXXVII with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on the day he passed for 215 yards and two TDs. 

Green Bay Packers legendary QB opened up the scoring in Super Bowl XXXI with a 54 yard bomb to WR Andre ‘Bad Moon’ Rison. 

The first Super Bowl MVP to wear the #54 shirt was the Dallas Cowboys LB Chuck Howley, winning Super Bowl V to conclude the 1970 season.

The only other Super Bowl MVP to wear #54 was another Cowboys defended DT Randy White. White was also the only joint MVP winner, sharing the honours with DE Harvey Martin in Super Bowl XII

Photo credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Two teams with predominantly red uniforms have never faced each other in the Super Bowl. The 49ers will wear white on Sunday and the Chiefs keep their Pantone PMS 186C red shirts on. 

In the past 15 Super Bowls the team wearing the white jerseys has won 13 times. The only exceptions have been the 2018 Eagles (green) and the 2011 Packers (also green). 

Exactly 11 players in NFL history have scored exactly 54 touchdowns. Active players with this number are WRs DeAndre ‘Nuke’ Hopkins and Michael Crabtree. Crabtree had 109 yards receiving and a score for the 49ers the last time they went to the Super Bowl (in 2013).

Super Bowl XIX was won by the 49ers over the Dan Marino led Miami Dolphins. The total amount of points scored…….54. 

The Philadelphia Eagles shocked the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl LII. The two teams combined for a record number of first downs….yes you guessed it 54. 

54 seasons ago The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Green Bay Packers in the first ever Super Bowl. They scored only 10 points. The lone field goal they scored was with 0:54 seconds left in the first half. They were shutout in the second half. 

Picture credit: Chiefs.com

The greatest Chiefs player to wear the #54 jersey was OG Brian Waters, who played between 2000 and 2010. The undrafted free agent earned 5 Pro Bowl nods and two All-Pro selections. 

The greatest 49ers player to wear #54 was LB Lee Woodall who won Super Bowl XXIX, was selected to two Pro Bowls and had 88 career starts.

Whilst he spent the majority of his career in Oakland winning two Super Bowls, LB Matt Millen won a third ring for the San Francisco 49ers (XXIV) wearing the #54 shirt. 

In a Super Bowl XXXVIII loss to the Dallas Cowboys the Buffalo Bills K Steve Christie kicked the longest big game field goal – 54 yards. It is still the record for a Super Bowl game.

Picture credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In the 2018 AFC Championship Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins burned the New England Patriots All-Pro CB Stefon Gilmore for a……54 yard catch. The Chiefs lost the game. 

1973 was the 54th NFL season. O.J. Simpson (the 1969 number one draft pick) became the first 2,000 yard rusher that season. 

Chariots of Fire won the Best Picture Oscar at the 54th Academy Awards. It is a sports film based on two highly skilled athletes competing against each other to become a world champion. 

The 54th largest country in the world is Cameroon. Former Eagles linebacker Moise Fokou was born in Cameron. 

If you are in Miami for the Super Bowl you can head to 54th Street for some tasty Haitian food at Chex Le Bebe. 

Picture credit: Michael Reaves / Getty Images

The Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (right) led all TE in catches and yards in 2019 – 97-1229. His 49ers rival TE George Kittle (left) was one of only two other TE to go over 1k (1,053). Both TE had 5 TDs a piece

The 49ers have 5 Super Bowl wins, and a win on Sunday will see them join the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots with six Vince Lombardi trophies. They would become the first NFC team with six Super Bowls. 

The largest gap between playing in two Super Bowls is 50 years – held by the Chiefs, who’s last appearance was in Super Bowl IV. 

In their only Super Bowl win the Kansas City Chiefs QB Len Dawson completed just 12 of 17 passes for 142 yards and one 46 yard 3rd quarter touchdown. 

Joe Montana won four Super Bowls as the starting quarterback for the 49ers. In all four games, four wins, he did not throw a single interception. 

Montana in fact went on to end his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, losing the 1993 AFC Championship agains the Buffalo Bills. Montana suffered a concussion in the game and was replaced by Dave Krieg. 

Picture credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

If Patrick Mahomes leads the Chiefs to a Super Bowl win he would be the second youngest winner in 54 seasons, only trailing ‘Big’ Ben Roethlisberger who won SB XL aged just 23. 

The most passing yards in a players first 8 career games is 2,507 by Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. Surprisingly the fourth all time yardage is 2,277 by 49ers current backup QB Nick Mullens. Mullens 2019 stats – just 3 rushes for -3 yards. 

Chiefs backup QB Matt Moore wen 1-1 in relief of Patrick Mahomes in 2019. Moore has made one playoff start for the Miami Dolphins, an 18 point loss to the Steelers, in January 2017. 

Chiefs late 2019 acquisition EDGE Terrell Suggs and P Dustin Colquitt, along with 49ers K Robbie Gould are the oldest players to enter Super Bowl LIV – All aged 37. 

For Chiefs P Dustin Colquitt, in his 15th season as a Chiefs starter, it will be a chance to emulate the achievement of his father Craig, who won two rings punting for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The youngest player at Super Bowl LIV will be rookie WR and return ace Mecole Hardman who will not be 22 until March 12. He is the only 21 yard old playing in Miami. 

The Chiefs name came from a public naming competition, set by owner Lamar Hunt after he moved the team from Dallas where they we know as the Texans. 

The 49ers, named after the West Coast 1849 gold rush, were the first professional sports franchise to be based in San Francisco. They began life in 1947 in the new All-America Football Conference (AAFC). 

The 49ers have 27 players, coaches or officials in the Hall of Fame. The Chiefs have 22. 

The Chiefs have had one NFL MVP in their history, Patrick Mahomes in 2018. The 49ers have had five winners, split between three QBs – John Brodie (1970), Joe Montana (1989 and 1990) and Steve Young (1992 and 1994). 

Super Bowl 54 will be the 10th Super Bowl hosted by Miami. Five took place in the Orange Bowl and the more recent five in the stadium that has changed its name 4 times. 

On Sunday Katie Sowers becomes the first woman to coach in a Super Bowl. Katie, an offensive assistant for the 49ers, is already a world champion having lifted the IFAF Women’s World Championship in 2013 as a player. 

Picture credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid delivered the best quote of the Super Bowl week when asked about his relationship with his nine grandchildren. He said “They keep you young and at the same time make you feel old. It’s kind of like sweet and sour pork.”

Only one player has ever won three consecutive Super Bowls. That honour goes to LB Ken Norton Jr, who won his third ring with the 49ers in 1995 after gaining two with the Dallas Cowboys. 

The most Super Bowl TD passes scored in a half is 4. The record is held by the Redskins Doug Williams and the 49ers Steve Young.

The most career Super Bowl receptions (33) and yards (589) is held by 49ers legend Jerry Rice. Rice played in 3 finals for San Fran and one for the Oakland Raiders. 

With only two previous visits the Chiefs own very few individual Super Bowl player records. One they do hold is punting average, set by P Jerrel Wilson, standing at 46.5 a boot in 11 kicks

The 49ers have allowed the Super Bowl’s longest ever scoring play, a 108 yard kickoff return by the Ravens Jacoby Jones in SB XLVII. 

In fact the 49ers have allowed three kickoff return touchdowns in Super Bowls (Andre Coleman, Jacoby Jones and Stanford Jennings). 

Photo credit: Mike Powell

The most combined points in a Super Bowl is 75, as the 49ers put up seven touchdowns in a ’49’ 26 win against the San Diego Chargers. Steve Young threw six touchdown passes.

The most converted field goals in a Super Bowl is 4. This has been done twice, once by Ray Wersching for the 49ers in SBXVI and once by the Packers Don Chandler in SBII. 

Before their Super Bowl loss to the Ravens the 49ers owned the lowest Super Bowl win streak with 5 consecutive victories. 

The 1989 49ers set the Super Bowl record for points with 55. They scored 13, 14,14,14 by quarter. The game featured six future Hall of Famers, five on the 49ers roster. 

In the Chiefs only Super Bowl win they did not allow any first half or fourth quarter points. The team they beat, the Minnesota Vikings totalled 67 rushing yards. 

F10Y – NFC and AFC Championships 19-20 Look ahead

by Lawrence Vos (@NFLFANINENGLAND and @F10YRetro)

This will be the 22nd time that the conference championship will be a regular season rematch. The advantage has gone to the home team winning 13 of 21 rematches. The last team to gain revenge for a regular season loss by winning a conference championship was the the 2013 Seahawks who beat the 49ers – a game that featured a touchdown from Marshawn ‘Beast Mode’ Lynch. 

Now I’m not going to be popular if you like to do the tomahawk or if you support a team with a red helmet, but I am going for a Titans v 49ers Super Bowl. Below I have provided some narrative on the two teams I think are going to make it to the 54th annual festival of football.

AFC Championship – Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs

Photo caption: Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com

H2H – Chiefs lead all time series 29-24. Both are 1-1 in Super Bowl playoffs, and one win for the Titans in 1962 in double overtime when they were known as the Dallas Texans. Titans have won last four matchups by a combined 22. 

Titans 2019 record to date – 11-7 

  • Could become the first team in NFL history to beat their same conference division winners in a single season having dispensed the Texans Week 17, then the Patriots and the Ravens. 
  • If we include the Houston Oilers records, along with the Titans then this is the franchises 6th conference championship game – three for the Oilers – one from being in the AFL in 1967, two consecutive between 1978 and 1979, both as Wild Card entries, and both ending in defeats to the eventual Super Bowl winning Pittsburgh Steelers. 
  • As the Titans they reached two AFC title games in 1999 and 2002, beating the Jags in 99 and losing to the Raiders in 02. This will be the Titans 3rd AFC Championship in their 21 year existence as the Tennessee Titans.
  • They have of course played in one Super Bowl – 34 suffering one of three of the most heartbreaking losses in the finals history as Mike Jones the St Louis Rams LB tackled WR Keyin Dyson at the one yard line as the Titans looked to tie up the game in the dying seconds. 

Last decade – In the past 10 seasons the Titans haven’t won their division, and including this season are 3-1 in the playoffs. 

Outside of this season the Titans only playoff win in the past 17 seasons was in 2017 against none other than the Kansas City Chiefs. 

So what are the top 5 strengths of the Titans

Photo caption: Cbsnews.com
  • The running game and namely the hottest running back in the NFL Derek Henry. Henry became the first back in NFL history to record three consecutive 180+ rushing games. something that Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and even Jim Brown never managed.
  • Ryan Tannehill’s efficiency. From the point he replaced the ineffective Marcus Mariota this season Tannehill ended the 17 game slate with the highest rating in the league. Tannehill is an accurate passer 62.5% lifetime and 70.3% this season.
  • Jurrell Casey – You gotta love this defensive tackle who has started 137 of 139 games for the Titans. the four time pro bowler has recored 5 or more sacks for the last 7 seasons, and registered his first two playoff QB takedowns against Lamar Jackson last week. Casey has been twice voted the Titans Walter Payton Man of the year and he coaches a women’s flag football team made up of Titans WAGs. 
  • Head coach Mike Vrabel (pictured above) – This might be Vrabel’s first post season as a head coach but he won three rings as a player for the new england patriots in just a four year stretch. He has to be the only NFL player to have caught 12 touchdown passes on 12 career catches. 

Titans weaknesses 

  • Their field goal kicking.The team is 8-18 on field goal attempts
  • Pass rush – No player has more than 9 sacks and 1st round rookie dl Jeffrey Simmons had only two regular season sacks. 
  • Playoff experience – This is Tannehill’s third career playoff game and his only post season in his career. 

Keys for a Titans win 

  • Goes without saying feeding Derek henry the ball often – 25-30 carries and the Titans can dominate time of possesion and keep Mahomes off the field
  • Special teams tackling – The spark the Chiefs had last week was caused by a big Mecole Hardman kick return. If Haardman or Tyreek hill can find creases it means longer drives needed. 
  • Get the ball to the biggest playmaker. AJ Brown electrified as a rookie WR in the regular season, but he has been used as a decoy for two consecutive games to get a safety or corner to stay away from the line of scrimmage. Now is the time to unleash AJ in all his glory. 

NFC Championship – Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers

Photo credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

H2H – Packers lead the series 36-31-1. They have met 7 times in the playoffs the 49ers winning 3. The last time the 49ers recorded a shutout against the Packers was in 1954. The teams did meet in the 1997 NFC Championship – the Brett Favre and Reggie White led Packers beating the Steve Young led 49ers 23-10 in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. 

49ers record to date – 14-3 

  • Back in the NFC Championship for the 16th time – with 6 wins and 10 losses. Made three consecutive NFC Championships 2011-2013 with Alex Smith and then Colin Kaepernick. They lost Super Bowl 47 in 2013 to the Ravens. Weird fact on this game the last scoring play was a safety by the 49ers – Ravens  punter Sam Koch running out the back of the endzone. The 49ers team then featured Frank Gore who ran for 110 yards on the day. 
  • The Niners are 5-1 in Super bowls, having won 4 with Joe Montana who didn’t throw an interception in any of the three games, Super Bowl 24 in fact remains the biggest blowout game when they beat the Broncos 55-10. 
  • In the past 10 seasons the 49ers have won their division three times and are 6-3 in the playoffs. The last time they won their division before this season they mad it to the Superbowl. 
  • 49ers are the surviving 1 seed and only home team to host two playoff games this season. 

Top 5 strengths of the 49ers

Photo credit: Kyle Terada – USA TODAY Sports
  • Adaptability to their surroundings – they had a better road record than home record – going 7-1 on their travels. Wins ranged from a 9-0 grinder in a quagmire in Washington to outlasting the Saints 48-46 in the game of the season in New Orleans. 
  • The surprise of the running game. the team finished 2nd in rushing yards per game behind a combo of Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida and even jeff bison, just don’t ask jimmy Garoppolo to run – his 1.3 yards a carry is Dan Marino Esque. Don’t forget about Kyle Juzchck who is arguably the best FB in football
  • Grab a teabag and put the Kittle on. All Pro TE George Kittle led the team in targets, receptions, and was the only Niners to go over 1000 yards in the air. His 5 tds paced the team. Kittle’s catch against the Saints was easily a top10 highlight of the season. 
  • Pass rush – the 49ers registered 48 regular season sacks and followed up with six lashes of Kirk Cousins last week. The biggest name is rookie Nick Bosa, but the leading regular season sacker was Arik Armstead with 10 and two forced fumbles. in their regular season matchup the 49ers had 5 sacks of Aaron rodgers on his 33 attempts. 
  • The offensive line – Veteran LT Joe staley and mauling 2nd year right tackle Mike McGlinchey (pictured above) are not getting the headlines, neither made the first or second all pro rosters but they are solid bookends and RG Mike Person is one to look out for as a late bloomer. The team averaged 4.6 yards a carry in the regular season and paved the way for 47 rushes last week. 

Weaknesses 

  • Kicking game has become a bit of a risk. Robbie Gould who was injured for three weeks has missed 8 of his 31 attempts after foil 33 of 34 last season. Fortunately for the 49ers Gould has never missed a field goal in 8 post season games. 
  • Penalties by the defense – The team committed the 7th most penalties in the regular season and need to cut down on giving up cheap yardage. 
  • Wide receivers – Its a grab bag of talent with the 49ers ball catchers – no one is a dominant number one. Trade aqusition Emmanuel Sanders has registered 36 catches and 3 tds in red and gold – good but not great. This can be a 49ers advantage as Jimmy G will likely look for Deebo Samuel early and often but there is no guarantee he has a gig receiving game. 

Keys for a 49ers win 

  • Keep bringing the heat all game long. Joey Bosa looked as fresh in the final two minutes against the Vikes as he did in the opening 2. Aaron Rodgers is 36 and uses more of his smarts than he does his feet to move the ball. 
  • Run the ball and wear down the packers defensive line. It might be Mostert or even Breida that gets the lions share of carries whoever carries the ball they need to keep hold of the rock
  • Game planning – Kyle Shanahan lives every day with the numbers 28-3 etched in his mind after taking a 25 point lead in the Super Bowl as the Falcons offensive coordinator before being Bill and Tommed. Lesson learnt Shanahan will take no lead for granted and will want to showcase his play calling in front of a fired up home crowd. 

Enjoy the games tonight, for some this week is better than Super Bowl Sunday. We have a top seed, a bottom seed and two teams that are #2 in their conferences.

Photo credit: Albert Dickson/Sporting News

Sit back, grab your popcorn, and have a blast.

Full10Lookaheads – Week 16

By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y)

Crunch time! This week we are treated to the NFL being spread out over the weekend with 3 games on Saturday with huge implications as the Rams travel to the 49ers and the Bills try to upset the applecart in New England.

On Sunday, the SkySports offering serves up some fantastic matchups where New Orleans continue to chase for a 1st round bye against a Titans team effectively already in the playoffs. Plus, it’s the battle for the NFC East as Dallas travel to Lincoln Financial Field to face the Eagles in a winner takes all matchup.

Winners progress, losers go home. Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to week 16 in the NFL.


BATTLE FOR THE EAST

Image result for dallas vs philadelphia
Image Credit: Mitchell Leff / Getty

Fierce rivals Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia get it on to essentially decide the winner of the #4 seed for the NFC playoffs. Both teams have underwhelmed this year for a variety of reasons, but it all comes down to this 60 minute game of football.

A win for the Cowboys, they are confirmed champions. A win for the Eagles and assuming a week 17 win against the Giants, they are in too. The Cowboys are the healthier, more potent team this season as judged by their week 7 hammering at At&T stadium. They will also be buoyed by their dominant performance last week at home to the Rams but form goes out of the window in these types of games.

Do Dallas and Jason Garrett have the cajones when it’s all on the line? Usually not, but can they still get the job done against an Eagles team that have been on the ropes more than the Sunday washing.

The coaching and talent on the Eagles are a testament to even be in with a live shout of still winning the division, but it’s also an indictment on how poor the division has been. Still, someone must win it and become the #4 seed for the playoffs, who’s stepping up?


Buffalo-ad of this!

Image result for buffalo bills new england patriots
Image Credit: Mike Groll / AP

Buffalo travel to Foxboro’ this weekend in another pivotal divisional clashe.

A win for the Bills sees a very interesting week 17 indeed. If Buffalo win out, they will take the #1 seed regardless due to conference record tie breaker and that is one hell of a carrot dangled in front of Josh Allen and Sean McDermott. They will be in bullish (or Billish perhaps?) mood after their win away at Heinz field on SNF and it’s now a question of whether they can step up to the plate once more.

Their week 4 meeting saw the Bills blow their chances a little, Josh Allen left with a head injury and still had a few drives to go and beat them late in the 4th quarter. They’ll certainly have to execute better than they did back in September but I feel this Bills team has come quite far since that game. The Bills match up quite well against New England and we don’t need to go over the offensive struggles that Brady and Co. have experienced this season.

A win for the Patriots will secure the #2 seed too and how many times have we seen before that New England just get the job done? New England have won the last 6 between the sides and you have to go back to 2014 when Buffalo last beat a Tom Brady led Patriots (though he did exit with an injury in that one!).


NFC 1st round bye shuffle


The #1 and #2 seeds have shuffled around between Seattle/San Francisco/New Orleans and Green Bay over the past couple of weeks and the jostling will continue this weekend. The current #1 seeds have a straightforward task against the Cardinals, whilst the 49ers will have to be on their toes against the Rams. New Orleans face a tough trip to Nashville and Green Bay travel to Minnesota in a key NFC North matchup.

If results go their way, the Seahawks could potential have their hands firmly placed on the #1 seed if results go their way which will be huge for Russell Wilson and the members of the 12 to ensure they can create a hostile environment in the playoffs and seal that homefield advantage.


HitchViking a ride into the playoffs

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Image Credit: Leon Halip / Getty

The Vikings with a win in either of their last 2 games secure a playoff berth. Problem is they have to face old foes and divisional rivals in the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. They are at home which will help as they enjoy one of the bigger advantages with homefield.

In the 2 away games against those teams however, they only managed to must 22 points collectively and that is just not going to get the job done. This is what Kirk Cousins was brought in for, paid all that guaranteed money for; games like this.

Without Dalvin Cook who is nursing an injury and resting before helping them in the playoffs or rookie Alexander Mattison who is also struggling to be fit for the game, Kirk Cousins is going to have to step up and lead this team to victory.

A win, an the monkey starts to climb off of his back. A loss, and there is huge pressure on him in week 17 against the Bears.


battle for a top 3 pick


With Cincinnati taking on the Dolphins and the Redskins facing the Giants, the current top 4 picks in the 2020 draft face off on Sunday. It is always interesting to see how the teams down “that end” play and how much they really put in to the game.

Whilst the Bengals can win without affecting their position at #1 overall, the other 3 teams could see themselves cause detrimental ramifications should they win a game. These games will be nothing more than a “look at the result after the game” types of affairs, but for the fans of the respective teams, i guess it’s nice that the fans will still be biting their nails during the game, even if it’s for different reasons.


Three Griers for Will!

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Image Credit: Lachlan Cunningham / Getty

Carolina turn to their third QB of the season as 2019 3rd round pick Will Grier enters the fray. Kyle Allen seemingly not the answer for the Panthers front office and David Tepper, Grier has 2 games to show what he can do.

He faces a Colts team that is there for the taking and a New Orleans Saints team which should have something to play for. Quite a contrast in matches will mean ample sample sizes for the team’s scouts and evaluators to see whether he could be the answer and not theoft injured Cam Newton.

Whilst we wont know until late in the offseason who will be the starter, Will Grier has the chance to make a lasting impression and put down a marker for next training camp. At the very least, he can stop the Panthers from drafting a QB or signing one in Free Agency….


the afc #6 a steel?


It seems to be a straight shootout now between Pittsburgh and Tennessee for the #6 seed in the AFC. The Steelers have the easier schedule with the Jets and Ravens to come, the Titans have the better QB but face New Orleans and Houston. Both defences are pretty stout, perhaps the edge going to Pittsburgh but the Titans have the better running game and the healthier team. Pittsburgh have the tie breaker on Tennessee so effectively just need to beat the Jets to punch their ticket to Arrowhead.

Whichever team makes it will be a heavy underdog going in to what is likely to be Kansas City. Considering both teams’ journies this season, I think they will take just the chance to cause an upset in January (the Titans have previous vs the Chiefs!).


you’re quinn denial, dan

Image result for Matt ryan dan quinn
Image Credit: Bob Donnan / USA Today

Dan Quinn was a hot favourite to be handed his P45 on black monday, but after the handful of decent performances by Matt Ryan and the Falcons including their most recent victory as time expired against the 49ers, it’s now a bit more up in the air.

The Falcons are 5-9, which is still a bitter disappointment comparing it with pre-season expectations, but they’ve won 4 of their last 6 including 3 divisional wins on top of the 49ers victory. divisional wins have slightly more weight put on them due to their importance so if the Falcons are able to beat the 5-9 Jaguars and the depleted 5-9 Buccaneers, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility Dan Quinn comes back next year.

He’ll definitely be getting “Blank” stares until the season and he walks in for his performance review…


is drew a lock for denver qb?

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Image Credit: Wesley Hitt /Getty

Drew Lock has performed well in his first 3 starts as Denver Broncos QB; A divisional win against the Chargers to go with a road victory against a playoff team. His last start against the Chiefs can be written off due to the weather and uncomfortable surroudings but all in all, the 2nd round pick from this year’s draft has probably outperformed his expectations when coming in, he was quite a raw prospect.

John Elway has never been the most convincing with his selections in the draft so far, especially at QB, but Drew Lock is looking like he fits over in Mile High. Whilst his completion % is low and his interceptions were not pretty, both lending to his gunslinger mentality, there are certainly some tools there for Lock to fine tune over the offseason and potentially be the answer at QB over in Denver.

With the weapons at his disposal sure to be added to during the offseason to compliment the running game, Drew Lock and the Broncos may not be in that bad of a position to challenge for January football come 2020.

A big tell will come against the Detroit Lions, as we will see how he responds to that rough game against Kansas and the criticisms he would have endured this week.

Full10 Look Aheads Week 15

Sunday Night Seeding

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Buffalo travel to Heinz Field in Sunday Night football in a battle of the 5th and 6th seeds. A win for either team will go a long way in ensuring that they experience some of the coveted January football they crave. Two stout defences in the NFL could lead to a tight, tense tussle in the trenches which will delight the purists.

Pittsburgh will hoping their recent record against the Bills continues, winning 9 or the last 10. They welcome back JuJu Smith-Schuster and RB James Connor into the mix just at the right time which, coupled with homefield advantage, could swing it in the Steelers’ favour.


LAR-st chance saloon.

Image result for la rams
Image Credit: Harry How

The Rams kept their playoff hope alive with the defeat of Seattle on Monday Night Football in week 14. They now travel to AT&T stadium to face a Cowboys team that have lost 4 of the last 5 games and not pulled up plants, let alone trees.

The Rams are on the outside looking in with regards to the playoff race being 1 game behind the 6th seeded Vikings. Whilst a divisional win is all but out of the equation, whilst Goff and McVay have a sniff at some postseason action, they’ll be all in to try and get the win against America’s team.

Some teams thrive when their backs against the wall, just ask the Packers fans when Rodgers ran the table to win it all. Can the Rams repeat history?


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Titan-ic Tussle

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Image Credit: Karen Warren

One of the biggest games of the weekend sees the first meeting in 3 weeks between the Titans and the Texans.

With both teams at 8-5, the loser of this match could see themselves outside the playoff seedings. The loser will get a chance to make amends in the week 17 clash but by then, it could be too late.

The pressure is firmly on the Texans after their shock defeat last week at home against Drew Lock and the Denver Broncos. Can they bounce back on the road against Ryan Tannehill, 5-1 as the Titans starter this season and who has the highest passer rating amongst all QBs since he took snaps under center?

Injuries, injuries and more injuries

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Image Credit: Ron Chenoy

Week 14 in the NFL was quite a brutal one for injuries. On offence, WRs Alshon Jeffrey, Marvin Jones, Mike Evans are just a few names that have bitten the dust for the 2019 season. On defence, just go and pay a visit to the 49ers treatment room where you’ll find the trainers working double overtime to try and get the likes of Richard Sherman and co trying their hardest to get back on to the field.

In the NFL, it’s never a question of “are they healthy?” it’s always “how hurt are you?” and players usually hold off even on surgeries until the season has finished and it has to be commended that the players that step on to the field go through injections and the pain barrier in order to try and help their team win.

Those that can get on to the football field provide fantasy owners with their own headaches on how active and fit they actually are especially as the fantasy playoffs start in the majority of leagues this weekend.


goodbye to the WEST COAST black hole

Picture credit: villageinframe.com

As the Oakland Raiders bid farewell to their West Coast home on Sunday, before moving lock, stock and plenty of smoking barrels to Sin City in 2020, there will be tears shed by the single most crazy bunch of fans in the NFL.

The ‘Black Hole’, situated in Section 105 of the RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland, is full of some of the league’s most dedicated fans, including Gorilla Rilla and Violator.

Mathematically still in with a playoff shot at 6-7 the Silver and Black will be playing with a lot of additional emotion as they host the Jacksonville Jaguars.

A win to move to .500 is not going to be enough to rescue an unmemorable season, but playing for the last time in Oakland after two extensive stints (1966-1981 and 1995-2019) will likely see grown gorillas and men with foam spikes coming out of their replica shoulder pads brought to tears.

mahomes is the key against lock

Photo credit: Ron Chenoy – USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time in the season when divisional games become heightened and every point counts, even if teams are out of the playoff race.

This matchup between the Broncos (5-8) and the Chiefs (9-4) is their 119th clash, which has been won by K.C. the last eight times they have played.

For Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes it is an opportunity to come out of a personal mini-slump. He may have led his team to three consecutive wins, but he has thrown exactly one touchdown pass in each of those contests.

It feels weird to write but the Chiefs defense is hotter than the offense. With home field advantage in the playoffs slipping away for Andy Reid the key to this game is to pick the Lock.

Wel-camcorders to the jungle

Photo caption: Kareem Elgazzar

If you are the current Super Bowl champion, and on a two-game losing streak at the business end of the regular season, you need to resort to something new and innovative to rally the troops.

What have the New England Patriots allegedly done? Bought in a former Army veteran to ignite the locker room? Has the entire team got involved in a community project to build a house for children in care? Nope they have been accused of spying on the 1-11 Bengals.

The Bengals are in the driving seat for the #1 draft pick in 2020, so it’s unlikely they will be in any hurry to deliberately cause an upset.

The Patriots don’t need to allegedly resort to these tactics, they just need to do a few simple things, get three new wide-receivers, and three new tight-ends and teach them how to run the right routes, catch balls and help move the chains.

Now this has been said watch the Patriots win another Super Bowl.

BREES Hopes for super spark

Picture credit: Clutchpoints.com

Just over a decade ago Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints to their only Super Bowl appearance and their only victory, beating the Peyton Manning led Indianapolis Colts 31-17 (Super Bowl XLIV).

The Saints and Colts have only met twice since that historic encounter, including a 55, yes 55 point win for New Orleans in 2011. They now face each other in a MNF game with a win or go home pressure for the Colts.

For Indy they are another of these AFC mathematically alive teams at 6-7, facing a Saints team that wants to get past the Packers (both teams are 10-3) in the NFC playoff seeding.

The Colts have won one in their last six, so if you have a few spare shillings then bet big against them as Brees will look to replicate his 5 TD performance from their 2011 encounter.

LEt’s try this again for the 200th time

Picture caption: Packersuniform.blogspot.com

The NFL hoped their 100th season would have started with a big bang and plenty of fireworks, instead the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears served up an opening night 10-3 snooze fest.

Both teams now get to try again to show that they are capable of identifying that 20 yard long space either side of the field that normally leads to scoring opportunities if you get there.

What makes this Bears v Packers game so special is that it is their 200th time suiting up against each other. The teams first contest was way back in 1921 back when the Bears we called the Staleys.

With Mitch Trubisky on a hot streak and Aaron Rodgers wanting to preserve the NFC #2 seed you can safely say this game will eclipse 13 points. Let’s all go for a 7-7 tie !!!

FULL10 LOOK AHEADS – WEEK 14

by Lawrence Vos (@NFLFANINENGLAND & F10YRetro)

Steel-ing a duck flavoured wild card

Image credit: steelersnow.com

Pittsburgh’s QB Delvin ‘Duck’ Hodges is determined to drag the Steelers into the playoffs, whilst all around him appears to be crumbling. The duck man is the first undrafted rookie to lead his team to wins in his first two starts since the lesser known Redskins QB Ed Rubert who matched the impressive feat back in the strike ridden 1987 season.

Entering W14 the Steelers are one of only 7 AFC teams with more wins than losses. Hodges, who a decade ago won the Junior World Duck Calling Contest, and last year won the prestigious Alabama State Duck Calling Championship, is the newest cult hero, out-zeitgeisting even Minshew Mania.

His two 2019 victories may have both just been by 7 points, but they both count. In these two games he only took a single sack, which is an incredibly good sign of someone who can instinctually feel pressure and avoid it.

Duck has a very winnable game in Arizona on Sunday – making that Wild Card berth ever more likely to be sitting neatly wrapped under the Christmas tree. 

Da-do-gone-Ron-Ron-da-do-gone-Ron

Picture credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The second coaching casualty occurred in the build up to W14 as Riverboat Ron Rivera was relieved of his duties in Carolina following a loss to the resurgent rushing Redskins.

The former two-time Associated Press (AP) coach of the year won 54.6 percent of the games he coached.

Riverboat – famous for his gung-ho play calling style – was in part a victim of the long-term injury woes suffered by franchise QB Cam Newton, but mostly removed because the Panthers defense was toothless.

Allowing 116 points over four consecutive losses is going to test any GM. That and the fact the Panthers at one point had a four-game winning streak earlier makes it even more frustrating.

Carolina face the Falcons on Sunday, likely their only realistically winnable game on their remaining schedule.

With playoffs out the window the Panthers interim HC Perry Fewell will be able to experiment and take a quality look at the roster.

Fewell has already had a stint as interim HC – back in 2009 he wen 3-4 to end the Buffalo Bills season before being fired.

For fired Riverboat Ron hewon’t be out of work for long and has been quoted saying at this point the only job he would take at present would be going back to his alma-mater California.

Makes sense for a guy who won a Super Bowl as a bear. 

Golden Gate v Golden Dome

Picture credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America

We have another UK treat this Sunday in the early window as Sky has got the 10-2 San Francisco 49ers travelling to the Bayou to take on the equally impressive 10-2 New Orleans Saints.

The 49ers need this win far more than the Saints, who became the first team to clinch their division by the end of W13.

The Seahawks have crept up on the Niners to take a tie-break lead in the NFC West so Jimmy Garoppolo will need to be at his best to keep pace.

San Francisco looked solid against the active volcano hot Ravens, and this week will have the luxury of being indoors in a climate controlled dome.

This is a fantastic test for the Saints, currently on a three-game win streak, to see if they are contenders or pretenders, as they have faced a relatively simple schedule to date.

Saints WR Michael Thomas is legitimately pushing for NFL MVP contention. He has led the team in receiving yards 10 of 12 week this season, and has a boggling 110 catches and 1,290 yards in just 12 games.

Thomas won’t touch Calvin Johnson’s yardage record (1,964 in 2012) but he is getting ever closer to Marvin Harrison’s 143 catch mark, set 17 year ago. Thomas needs to average 8-9 catches over the last quarter of the season to get the crown. 

Ctrl-Shift-Run

Image credit: The Buffalo News

An intriguing contest between the travelling 10-2 Ravens and the 9-3 Buffalo Bills may have an unknown outcome, but it will be bursting from the seams with one thing – running plays.

The two finest rushing QBs (sorry Kyler Murray) Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen have combined for 1,423 yards and 15 touchdowns, and more importantly a combined 19 wins.

If the QBs get a bit tired they can handoff the ball to a vast array of quality RBS. Bills Devin Singletary and Frank Gore are both top 25 in rushing this season and Ravens Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards both average 5.0 and 5.1 a carry.

With a Patriots loss to the Chiefs, which is very possible, and a Bills win the AFC East will have two teams at 10-3.

A Ravens win and a Steelers loss and Baltimore secure the AFC North. Lots to play for between the two most impressive second year quarterbacks in the league. 

Where does the L.A story move to next?

Image caption: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the last season for the foreseeable future where the NFL has two franchise in L.A. it’s hardly been memorable for either the Rams or the Raiders. Going into Week 14 the Rams are somehow 7-5 and the Raiders Autumn wind has only mustered 6 wins.

The Rams host the 10-2 Seahawks and the Raiders welcome a rather tasty Titans team. Both teams are led by big name coaches who have both been to Super Bowls, and both are currently still in the playoff hunt but in their thermals standing outside looking in the window as their divisional rivals sip Prosecco and eat ice-topped mince pies.

Neither team has done anything to make their season stand out yet, and they now have just four weeks to do something special. Rams WR Cooper Kupp needs 56 yards to top 1,000, Todd Gurley hasn’t broken a single play over 25 yards and their leading receiver by yards per catch is safety Nick Scott.

For the Raiders Josh Jacobs is their first ever 1k rookie, their leading receiver by a huge margin is TE Darren Waller and they have had 9 different WR make a catch in 12 weeks.

Defeats this week and the L.A. Story is pretty much on the last page with no cliffhanger reveal. 

K.C. and the Sunshine Band or TB12 and the Sith Lord?

Picture caption: Jon SooHoo/UPI 

Under twelve months ago this was the AFC Championship game where everyone apart from Patriots fans wished Tom Brady would finally turn into a mortal. It wasn’t to be as New England went on to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, thanks in large part to TB12’s 348 passing yards.

Now in the final period of the 2019 regular season this matchup is the second opportunity for Patrick Mahomes deliver the blow that signals the true rise of the youth movement.

The Patriots defense is still doing tremendously but they are being dragged into a lower playoff seeding and even a division battle by a pedestrian offense.

Sith Lord Belichick always has a plan, but WR Julian Edelman and RB James White can only ever represent two receiving options on any given play. The bare naked truth is the Patriots either need to coax TE Rob Gronkowski out of retirement or convert somebody like Jamie Collins to a dual-threat superstar that catches the ball.

The latter sounds like a joke, but just take a look at some of the Patriots earlier Super Bowl wins when they utilised LB Mike Vrabel as a redzone touchdown monster.

The Chiefs need to somehow keep Brady off the field with a combination of Shady McCoy, Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware helping grind out some 6-8 minute drives. This is a fantasy mess in the backfield, especially as we are in playoff game mode, as anyone could end up vulturing a score.

With a duck and a moustache helping headline writers, let’s hope there is some very early Monday Mahomes magic manifesting.

Full10Lookaheads – Week 13

By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y) and Euan De Ste Croix (@dissy89)


Who’ll be the Turkey at Thanksgiving?

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Although they’ve done away with the Galloping Gobbler award on thanksgiving, many people will be looking to see if Jason Garrett will be ripe for roasting once again as they host the Buffalo Bills in their traditional home Thanksgiving game.

A lot of criticism went Garrett’s way after his decision to kick a field goal late in the game at Foxboro’ and the dangerous Buffalo Bills could put Garrett and his coaching qualities under the spotlight once again.

The Cowboys missed an opportunity to steal a march on the NFC East, which would have given him a bit less of a hotseat. With the Eagles now having an easy stretch of schedule, the Cowboys cannot afford to slip up, although it’s likely the NFC East title will come down to their Week 16 game, even if the Cowboys fall to a game behind. IF that scenario does play out, will Garrett even be the coach then?

Other potential Turkeys include third stringer QB David Blough for the Lions who goes up against a Bears defence that’s actually giving up less points than they did last year (funny how our opinions see them as less fearsome), Mitchell Trubisky (no explanation needed) and the Atlanta Falcons, who have to prove it all again after their defeat to the Bucs as they host the Saints.


Helmets collide again

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Image Credit: Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports

Usually, the game between the Steelers and Browns needs no introduction but this particular fixture will have more spice than Jamie Oliver’s cookbook.

There will be a few key protagonists missing from the game that were involved in the skirmish 2 weeks ago, some through suspension (Garrett, Pouncey) and some through inability to function as an NFL player (Rudolph).

What wont be lost is the heavy hitting, cheap shots between the players looking to continue their scuffles.

Keep an eye on the referees in this one as they will try to maintain order in the AFC North battle. The Browns will want the win more as they still have an outside shot at the playoffs, but can they keep their composure, can they execute their plans, something they’ve struggled with all season.


49ers and Ravens

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Image Credit: Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports

The mouthwatering clashes keep on coming for the neutrals as 49ers and the Ravens, the 2 trailblazers with a combined record of 19-3, meet this Sunday. Yet again the 10-1 49ers are the ones who seemingly have to prove their credential for the Super Bowl whilst many are quick to brandish Lamar Jackson the MVP award and the Ravens a Super Bowl berth.

This is of course a Super Bowl rematch from the “Harbaugh Bowl” back in Super Bowl XLVII when the Flacco led Ravens came out victorious of the Colin Kaepernick led 49ers in the Mercedes Benz Super dome (and of course that famous blackout).

Can the 49ers now do it on the road after recording home victories the past few weeks against the Packers and Cardinals. Teams usually get their due when travelling to tough environments in the NFL as home comforts can usually get you bye in case of any struggles.

There will be no room to hide with the spotlight currently beaming down on these two teams and it will be fascinating to see who comes out victorious when the dust settles.


LA-st chance Saloon

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Image Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

That Jared Goff Contract is not looking like it will be conducive to them reappearing in the Super Bowl anytime soon.

With their embarrassing loss to the Ravens at home on MNF, the Rams are now 6-5 and 3 games back off Seattle, 4 off of the 49ers and 2 games back in the Wildcard race where the Vikings currently sit with the #6 seed.

It’s amazing how not even a year ago, the Rams annihilated everyone that was put in front of them and it was about this time last year when we were treated to the 100+ game in LA vs the Chiefs.

That Rams team is a far cry away from what it is now and you have to wonder whether or not McVay and co have the ability to turn it around.

Their recent trade for Jalen Ramsey means they don’t have any picks of great value for the next couple of years and Jared Goff’s salary means that they can’t move on from him (nor Todd Gurley’s for that mattter).

It could be a spiral out of control situation and it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility that the whole organisation is blown up.

PS: Dallas, send the Rams a 1st round or 2nd rounder for McVay.


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Playoff INDTEN-tions

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Image Credit: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

An AFC South battle sees the current #8 and #9 seeds going toe to toe in effectively a playoff matchup.

Indianapolis and Tennessee will leave it all out on the field in Lucas Oil Stadium as the winner could potentially move in to the 6th seed which the Steelers currently hold. Pittsburgh face the Browns and the #7 seeded Raiders face the Chiefs, so chances are the winner here leap frogs all of them.

The Titans has seen a resurgence under Ryan Tannehill, currently the highest rated QB since he took over from Mariota. HC Mike Vrabel and OC Arthur Smith will look to keep on rolling as they face a slightly banged up Jacoby Brissett, Marlon Mack-less Colts team. Indy have won the last 3 between these two so recent history is against them but this wasn’t a Ryan Tannehill led Titans team.

The Titans then travel to Oakland before facing Houston in 2 of their last 3 games.

You have to feel the Titans have it all in their hands. The question is can they grab it?


Can the decibel best the mentor?

Image Credit: Boston Herald

Bill O’Brien is comfortably the most successful graduate from the Bill Beikchick coaching tree but that is hardly a seismic feat. After serving under the most successful head coach of the modern era from 2007-11, O’Brien must be considering privately, this Sunday Primetime game, would represent his best chance to finally claim a victory against the New England dynasty. But Bill is currently 0-5 against them and 0-2 since the drafting of franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Perhaps the closest the the Texans have come was in Watson’s rookie season. Not going for a 4th & 1, saw the Texans hand the ball back to new England and miss out on their best chance to beat their perennial superiors rivals since 2011.

The New England offence, post the loss of Gronkowski, is still attempting to find an identity and it’s output won’t be one that will scare any potential opponents and particularly Watson and the Texans offence who will likely fancy their chances, all things being equal. The key will be – can O’Brien’s Houston team learn from the great one and play mistake free football? A central theme to the success for footballs ever persistent powerhouse.

The Texans have their not so secret weapon in speedster, Will Fuller, who O’Brien publicly declared the up turn in Hopkins and Watson’s game when he’s on the field. Fuller, often injured, but immeasurably effective when on the field, has missed the previous two clashes with Watson under centre.

If O’Brien and his coaching staff can come out of the headlights of a primetime game win against his professor, prior to move Pat’s personnel chief, Nick Caserio, to Houston as GM this off season. Then the Texans will possibly have their first one over New England in a long time, until at least the play-off’s.


A Cross-State Battle with more Questions than Answers at QB.

Image Credit: Douglas R. Clifford

Tampa Bay visit their Florida rivals in Jacksonville this Sunday in a game that will likely be shunned by neutrals and for good reason. The visiting side perhaps put their best performance of the season against division rivals in Atlanta, last Sunday. Jameis Winston, continues to the show up short of his draft status and the franchise is at a cross roads on what to do with the 5th year passer.

Taking last weeks game in isolation, that alone would suggest Winston would be in line for an off-season extension, but his interception filled stint would not in Tampa, would not. Winston has 5 games to avoid a career as eternal back-up. Regardless the outcome, a year on the franchise tag may be all he can hope for, if he’s to stay in south Florida.

On the other side of the field, a similarly intriguing proposition lies, as big money free agent and former super bowl MVP, since returning form injury has appeared to take Jacksonville backwards. In his absence, Gardner Minshew appeared to have won the job in 9 games posting, 13 touchdowns to 5 interceptions and racking up 2,285 yards at a completion rate of above 60%.  Losing both games since his return, albeit putting up more accurate passing numbers, Foles has thrown two TD’s but the team doesn’t appear to carry the same spark as it did, when Foles was watching from the sidelines.

The Jag’s are not so far removed and from an AFC championship berth but have had many salary-cap casualties when signing Foles to a his deal. It could be argued that the lack of cap space was the initial driver of the Jalen Ramsey trade and it would seem they are lily to lose edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue. A lot is riding on Foles to be successful in Duval county but it would seem, the rest of their roster has suffered in an attempt to replace the Blake Bortles saga.

Both teams are looking for reasons for optimism but it would seem change lies ahead in either coaching or personnel to revive either teams fortunes.


Games to Get Right Or Quelling underlying fears?

Image Credit: David Maialetti

Both Philadelphia and Carolina face two games which on the surface of it would seem automatic wins. Both are 10 point favourites. Both, on the surface have strong rosters and will feel their respective records should be healthier than they currently read.

Regardless if they win by the outlined margin, does the 6.25% step forward, really represent anything other than short term progress. The Eagles, at the outset would have been set for a Super Bowl run or at least deep into the play-offs, by many on lookers. Hindered by a poor secondary and a quarterback – who after a number of injuries and changes to his offensive personnel – seems lost, in not overwhelmed. Wentz’s regression is stark and in spite of a bounce back game on Sunday against Miami, there are longer terms concerns for a team who were heralded for Howie Roseman’s roster building acumen. This is now the second consecutive season of under achievement after their Super Bowl win and concern has to be there and unaffected, even by a 50-point win on Sunday.

The Carolina Panthers, have a quandary at the most important position in all of sports also. The continual decline of Cam Newton’s health has seen Kyle Allen step in a lead the ship admirably. An underachiever in the college game has never been doubted talent-wise but it would appear his consistency and application has. There have been some strong outings for Allen. But he also has has some games to forget, the showing at home versus at Atlanta, rightly called into question his decision making. Even with a strong follow up performance against a struggling Washington team, Kyle will be looking to re-assert some positively  after their narrow loss to New Orleans. A game they should have won, if not for the missed five points by their rookie kicker Joey Slye.

There are question to be asked about how much Allen’s play is bolstered by Christian McCaffery’s all-pro and possibly MVP calibre season at running back. As limitations have been shown, so is there enough there to give confidence to ambitions new owner, David Tepper? A many who made his fortune in investments, will shortly tell us how willing he is to invest the future of the franchise in Kyle Allen.


Does Defence win Championships still?

Image Credit: Pete Smith

The adage has been echoed round NFL-based discussions for decades. If you didn’t have a league leading defence with multiple blue-chip players, at all three levels your chances were nullified. This uprising of the San Francisco 49er’s has perhaps shown that the notion is alive and well. The undoubted strength of the team is it’s defence. The litany of first round draft picks across its front seven make it difficult for the opposition to move the ball. Whether it’s, Ford, Bosa, Armstead, Thomas or Bucker. There isn’t 5 tougher blocking assignments for an offensive line in the game.

This front has allowed the linebackers and secondary to flourish with the additional pressures this unit brings. Witherspoon finally seems to be realising his talent at corner and Richard Sherman appears to be having a plus year, after looking not his former self last season. So the leading statement has proven to have varying levels of validity across the season. So much so, the performances have been questionable from their quarterback but Jimmy-G plays within a system that he suited to and it doesn’t require him to chase big plays outside of it. The running game the defence will ensure that’s not the case. But Sunday they face their biggest test of the year.

An apposing body evidence to this argument would be the Baltimore Ravens who, defence is strong in its own right and have done an amicable job of letting players go and finding replacements throughout the draft. But their real revelation has been the improvements show in the game of second year quarterback, come magic man, Lamar Jackson.

After crashing out the play-off’s he has come back with vengeance. Their unique brand of offence is an intriguing one which relies on the run. The league seem to have changed and in a way that has allowed Jackson to flourish rather than one that would have traditionally rejected his athleticism. His play and level at the offence is running at, is unrivalled through this point of the year. The two and three tight end sets have allow Baltimore to control the line of scrimmage and pick off high percentage throws and run the ball to the tune of over 200 yards per game.

The 49ers perhaps pose the strongest test of their system to get the best out of Jackson. This Sunday, will likely be one for the old school lovers of ground and pound running game. Whilst the game could provide a timely reminder that in 2019 offence may well win championships. Or is the old platitude still correct? The number 1 rushing team plays the number 2 team in a clash which should help us in that understanding, come Sunday.


Only the Young & Offensive Minded need apply

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Image Credit: Steve Dykes

When a failed college head-coach in Cliff Kingsbury was hired by the Arizona Cardinals it seemed odd. Relieved from his duties at Texas Tech, he had only just taken up the Role of USC’s offensive co-oridnator in the weeks prior. But some how he had landed one of the prized 32 gigs to coach at the highest level. It seemed odd on the face of it. Kingsburry was allowed to draft Kyler Murray No1 overall in this years draft, re-make an offence and a team with limited talent for year one of a multi-year project.

Last off season – that was the latest trend for every franchise who wanted to get ahead of the curve or at least join it, was to hire a specific model of coach, to take them into the next decade of a changing league. At one point last off-season the common joke was: “I once cleaned Sean McVey’s pool so I’d like to apply for the Head Coaching job.”

Fast forward not even three quarters of a season and those remarks certainly won’t contain the same level of relevancy, compared to when team owners/GM’s were looking for a new team leader, last off season. Often referred to as an acronym off ‘Not For Long’ the NFL has a habit of building you up just as quickly as it will bring you down with a crash. The Ram’s offence appears to have embodied a typical NFL cycle and crash it has done, but with such alarm. After letting linemen leave the building and extending Jared Geoff, no longer receives to the same level of protection and wide open targets he previously enjoyed. It would seem that their once heralded system appears to have dropped in effectiveness. Just as the brightest head coach in the NFL galaxy doesn’t appear quite as bright as it once gleamed.

Now, Sunday represent a milestrone game and clear barometer of how these two young coaches are set for the following seasons and beyond. Both need a further influx of talent to be competitive with the play-off calibre teams. But it will show, how was has Geoff fallen from his perch of league leading offence against a questionable defence – out with safety Budda Baker. But it will also show how the QB of choice, young dream coach experiment is rounding into shape.

It will be an intriguing watch if this archetype is desired for the next round of, off-season, head coach carousel, in 2020.

Full10Lookaheads – Week 12

By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y)

The business end of the season is here and the games get more important as the weeks go by. That is even the case for Bengals, Dolphins and Redskins fans as they are on the edge of their seats hoping their teams continue to lose so they don’t have to stay up as long come draft night.

For (pretty much) everyone else, your teams will still be vying for January football and we have some great matchups including Dallas, New England, Green Bay, San Francisco, Baltimore and the LA Rams. So let’s see what’s on the menu for week 12.


AFC South Battle

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Image Credit: Bob Levey / Getty Images

Thursday Night Football sees one of the games that hold the most importance.

The Colts and Texans get it on in Houston in the first game of week 12 and the Colts must win otherwise the Texans will have a game lead in the division but also the tiebreaker, thus essentially giving them a 2 game lead with just 6 games remaining.

The Colts will be hoping that star wideout T.Y. Hilton can check in to the game after missing the past few weeks with a calf problem whilst the Texans will be hoping the epitome of boom or bust Will Fuller can return from a hamstring niggle.

Expect both teams to leave it all out on the field and let’s all hope that Quenton Nelson gets a legitimate touchdown this week!


The Hippy Hippy Shakes

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Image Credit: Larry Brown Sports

Dak and his pre match warmup routine head over to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro for a tasty match in the late window (why are there only 2 games on the late slate btw?!?)

Many are trying to nudge Dak into the MVP conversation considering how he has overcome the average defence, inconsistent run game and Jason Garrett captaining the ship.

The Cowboys are in focus over the next 5 weeks, either being in primetime or on America’s game of the week so we’ll get a real good look at his credentials to take the end of season award.

His toughest matchup to date awaits him though and will be fascinating what weapon Bill Belichick tries to take away from the no.1 ranked offence in the league. It will also be fascinating to see if Garrett and Kellen Moore try to utilize Dak’s legs a bit more in this one.

Dallas need the win to stay 1 ahead of the Eagles, whilst the Patriots need the win to cling on to the coveted #1 seed in the AFC.


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Browns response

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Image Credit: Kirk Irwin / Getty

We don’t need to go back in to detail about what happened on TNF last week. That being said, it will be intriguing to see the Browns response to the adversity.

Freddy Kitchens, Baker Mayfield and the Browns have endured a lot of criticism this season for a varying reasons, and rightly so, but that can all dissipate if they can make a run (with a favourable schedule) at the playoffs which starts this week at home to the maybe tanking Dolphins.

Can Baker put a marker down and take the situation by the scruff of the neck and become the leader that the Browns need him to be, or will the Browns continue to be plagued by their continuing allegiance to underachieving?


Do the 49ers Pack a punch?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers
Image Credit: Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports

Whenever you think of this matchup in recent times, you think of the playoff game between these two in 2012 where Colin Kaepernick ripped the Packers to shreds and the Fox commentators got rather excited about it.

No Kaepernick in this game, despite his efforts, but there is the small matter of the #1 seed potentially up for grabs in this one on Sunday Night Football.

Jimmy Garoppolo, fresh off his career day last week vs the Cardinals, travels to Wisconsin to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers fresh off their bye week in one of the games of the week. If the Garoppolo and the 49ers are able to take the W here, it will answer a lot of critics that they still have chomping at their ankles, despite their record.

A loss coupled with a Seahawks win however, could actually see the 49ers drop to the #5 seed. Fine margins, high stakes, all reasons we love late season football.


battle of the birds

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Image Credit: Fanduel.com

Talking of the Seahawks, in another fascinating battle on Sunday, the Eagles host the Seattle who are coming off a bye in the battle of the birds. Whilst there are many birds in the NFL, these two predators will be looking for easy prey on the football field.

Carson Wentz has not been able to show his MVP capabilities much this season, but this matchup poses a chance to get the better of a beatable defence that ranks bottom 5 against the pass in terms of yardage and a defensive line that averages only 1.5 sacks and 3 Quarterback hurries per game.

On the other side, the masterful Russell Wilson was eclipsed by Lamar Jackson in his bye week with regards to MVP consideration, maybe he’ll came and remind everyone not to forget about old Russ.

This game like another few this week, has implications for both divisions and the wildcard race so there is a lot on the line here for both teams.


Late Slate isn’t great, mate

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What is up with the scheduling this year?

This Sunday sees just 2 games in the late window. Unfortunately this isn’t the first time that the Sunday scheduling has seen the entertainment become very front heavy.

For those in the UK that do not have Sky Sports, the late window sees us being treated to an absolute classic between…the Titans and Jags.

The Eagles/Seahawks game was flex out of Primetime to the early games. Why?

Seattle are a mainstay in the late slate for the majority of their home games being on the west coast, so what’s changed?

The one saving grace is that you’ll still be able to watch the majority of the Patriots/Cowboys game on RedZone because there’ll be no highlights to show in the Titans game in the late slate, so there is that I suppose. Scott Hanson will be working hard to find the content filler, that’s for sure.


Ram Slam?

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Image Credit: Fanduel.com

The Lamar Jackson hype train steam rolls into the Los Angeles Coliseum on Monday Night Football.

Massive game for obvious reasons, but it can’t be understated how much more it means for the Rams. Loss here coupled with a possible SF and/or Seattle wins, could see them be cut too far adrift from the others in the wildcard race.

Just 10 months removed from the biggest game of them all, the Rams may even not have the chance of trying to get there once again, with questions being asked of McVay and his team. Funny how the NFL landscape changes so quickly.

Full10Lookahead – Week 11

By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y)

Week 11 is here, plenty of juicy matchups on this weeks slate including a Super Bowl rematch and an AFC West classic in Mexico.


San Francisco Fallen-9ers

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Image Credit: Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News

The 49ers have now been defeated, ensuring that everyone that had betting tickets ona  perfect season ended up in the bin. To make matters worse, they are starting to get pretty banged up on both sides of the ball. Ronald Blair now adds to the injury list that includes Kwon Alexander, George Kittle and Matt Breida. Injury is the biggest way to negate execution; you can have the fancied schemes and the most cleverest of play designs, but if you don’t have the right personnel to execute it, it may as well be a run up the gut.

Can the 49ers now successfully start to negotiate their toughest part of their schedule with players that aren’t their starters and a squad that has just had their confidence slightly knocked after tasting defeat.

We’ll find out when they face familiar foes, the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.


Tank? What tank?


Don’t look now, but the Dolphins have the longest active win streak in the AFC East. Sounds impressive doesn’t it? It’s only 2 games though but even a win streak of that magnitude was seen as nothing more than a pipedream by the Miami Dolphins’ fans as we entered the season.

This week presents another winnable game as they welcome in division rivals, the Buffalo Bills.

Currently sitting with the #4 pick in the 2020 draft, a win for the Miami dolphins and other results panning out a certain way could see the dolphins pick nearer number 10 than number 1 which wasn’t the narrative coming in to the season.


SUBTRACTION BY DIVISION


A few divisional matchups this week sees potential playoff wildcard eliminators.

Thursday Night Football pits AFC North foes the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers togethr whilst the Colts and Jags do battle in the AFC South in Jacksonville.

The losers of these matches are likely not going to see January football due to what these matches mean for the head to head tiebreakers. For the neutrals and the viewers, it certainly does make for more interesting games with the stakes getting higher and higher as the weeks progress.


Fight for the AFC #2 seed


The game between Houston and Baltimore on Sunday could go a long way in deciding the potential number 2 seed in the AFC, with the potential of trying to catch the Patriots who face a tough game in Philadelphia in a Super Bowl rematch.

Houston are fresh off a bye after their win in London whilst the Baltimore Ravens are fresh off resting players in the 4th quarter against the Bengals. With 2 talented Quarterbacks, 2 questionable defences, this game has all the makings of a classic and a win for the Ravens coupled with a loss for the Patriots and the Ravens could see homefield advantage as a real possibility.


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Patriot bounceback?


Talking of the Patriots, as previously mentioned, the Patriots travel to Philadelphia for a rematch of Super Bowl. Fresh still in the memory is the titanic 41-33 classic in 2018 that I am sure the broadcasters will have enough filler to pad out the stoppages in play.

That being said, this is a critical game for both teams.

New England need a win to help secure yet another first round bye in January whilst Philadelphia need to try and overtake the Cowboys in the NFC East where it’s looking likely that only the division winner plays football in the postseason.

And on top of all that, maybe we’ll also answer the age-old question…Would Wentz have beaten the Patriots in the Super Bowl?


yeARS FROM TEARS


What a difference a year makes.

This time last year the Rams were about to improve to 10-1 when beating the Chiefs in the 54-51 classic in LA and the Bears gained a win over the Vikings to get to 7-3.

Fast forward to this year and there is a real chance that perhaps both of these teams miss the playoffs. They are both shadows of their former self and it’s amazing the contrast in confidence and execution from these two teams. I’m not saying that these 2 head coaches are in danger of being booted out on Black Monday, but Sir Alex Ferguson certainly has a phrase for how at least one of them may be feeling.

You may call it a Super Bowl hangover for the Rams, but what’s the excuse for the Bears?


Foles gold?

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Image Credit: Reinhold Matay

Nick Foles makes his return to the NFL field on Sunday for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Whether or not you feel that is the right decision based on your perception of Gardner Minshew’s efforts, Doug Marrone and the front office will certainly see the view that their $88m investment should have the right to first crack.

Foles returns from a broken collarbone suffered in against the Chiefs after leading them to a touchdown drive in the first quarter. It remains to be seen whether he can come back and pick up where he left off.

The Jaguars will hope so as it’s not out of the question that they can grab that #6 seed.


Stadio Asteca take 2

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Image Credit: @ComexMasters/Twitter

Rounding us off on Monday Night, Mexico gets another shot to host an NFL game.

Last year was the farce of the LA Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs where the Stadio Asteca was deemed not fit for purpose.

It was the Mexican natives that missed out on the game of the season with the Rams taking it 54-51.

No such worries this time (thus far) and hopefully this time around, the Chiefs and Chargers can put on a show for the international fans.

It’s just a shame that the billing may not live up to the hype…could be worse though, we got the Rams vs the Bengals.